First, some Book Keeping
Time to start reviewing some of those services I mentioned last week. Several of the promotions haven't gone out yet, so you'll still need to wait for those, but there are other ones I can mention and tell you how well/poorly they did.
I also wanted to share a link to something I've been working on putting together. It isn't complete, but the intention is that it will show selection data by month/day as well as genre and subgenre. Right now it has all of the selected books and some of the authors filled in, and then I have to go back through and add in the genres to track those.
Ideally, this will help anyone who wants to see how often they pick books, what time of year they pick certain kinds of books (i.e. when is the best time to submit romance/sci-fi/etc.). I had an old spreadsheet that I stopped updating because I rebuilt it into this, so please enjoy! Everyone can view, but if you would like to collaborate on it with me and hopefully help fill in some of the missing details (as well as add more stats!) let me know.
Once the sheet is done, I'll add some analytical information (like best time of the year to submit based on aggregate data by genre) but until then, you can at least see which months get the most books picked.
Onto the analysis!
Right off the bat, there are two services I would like to talk about on the positive side of running this campaign. The first is AuthorShout.
I actually didn't really know what to expect with this campaign option, mostly because it was only ten dollars. They offer to promote your book for the entire month for the meager fee and will even go so far as to build out share images for you. I hadn't really heard much about them for or against, but for ten dollars it was pretty easy to give them a shot.
Here is one of the images they put together for the campaign:
What this told me right away was that they put some work into it and didn't just pump out crappy images. Don't get me wrong, a lot of it is probably placeholder, but they are attractive images nonetheless.
They also custom built tweets based on campaign data, including the tag line, blurb, and other features to get readers to check out the listing, which is nice. It isn't just a flurry of 'go nominate this and get a free copy' tweets.
Finally, the results: they have a landing page built for my book, and from the first couple of days it showed up in the top 50 external sources of traffic. Each day, the number went up (I had 11 clicks directly from that landing page on June 1st and that number kept climbing) and that doesn't even count the number of clicks that they brought in from twitter directly to the campaign. I'm expecting a sizable number of clicks to continue trickling in through the end of the 30 days, and if the book is selected they will continue promoting it even after the campaign is over with.
For ten dollars, this service is hard to beat. It is better than the $129 option I paid for with my last campaign, and the fact that it trickles in nominations rather than blasting them all at once is a huge bonus and makes it the perfect supplement to other services.
Melrock Kindle Scout Promo (Fiverr)
I honestly signed up for this one late, and it was on recommendation of a friend of mine who recently ran a campaign. I had honestly never heard of her services, and I figured I would give it a shot (for $30 bucks, which isn't too terrible).
First problem, though: she offers two services, a 30 day and 15 day kindle scout promo. I was caught in the middle of this, and since it was only a $5 difference it seemed kind of pointless to chop it down to only 15 days. I went ahead and signed up for the 30 day, figuring that I would just lose out on the 5 days that had already run. I decided not to approach her about prorating because I wasn't really that worried about it.
However, she had the campaign live and ready to go (with custom share images) in only about two hours, and she added in additional twitter support without my requesting it because I had missed out on the previous five days. She worked fast and seemed genuinely interested in helping to promote my book, and she has also worked to put together custom tweets and promotions to help drive nominations.
I can't track results as easily with her promotion since most of it comes from twitter or overlaps with other options, but if nothing else I'm happy with the exposure she has been giving me. I will ask her later in the campaign if she has any analytics I can share on my blog about the results, but I can still recommend her service to anyone who wants a strong advocate of their books to post. Here is one of the share images she created for my campaign:
Moving on with some more information: My newsletter blast early in the campaign didn't perform nearly as well as I would have liked. I only saw about a 5% click through rate, which was about 4% lower than I expected. The newsletter was set on auto resend, so it will blast out to everyone who didn't click as well which will hopefully bring those numbers up.
I also have a newsletter planned later in the campaign for the giveaway I'm running, so it will hopefully funnel some of the newsletter subscribers who weren't willing to support me out of their own goodwill into doing it with the chance of winning something!
Speaking of the giveaway...
My giveaway started on June 1st, and the primary goal of the giveaway was to drive people to my campaign page to check out my book. This was a new promotional idea I wanted to try out, and so far it has paid off. From the very first day it went live it directed quite a few clicks to Amazon, and the people it directed seem to be very engaged with the book. There are other entry options, including voting Raven's Peak book of the year at online book club and checking out anthologies on Amazon, but the first and most important is to check out my kindle scout entry.
To help drive traffic to my website (and hopefully back out to kindle scout) I signed up with a couple of giveaway promotion websites (namely, GiveawayPromote.com and sweep-stakes.com) to hopefully push a lot of extra traffic to my giveaway page. I also submitted the information to a lot of other sites to promote the giveaway, and the results in general have been really good. They diminish over time, but it serves as great trickle content for multiple purposes (website traffic, nominations, votes, email subscribers, and possible new fans).
This is one of the more expensive things I've done, but it isn't a ton of work and can be done quite a bit cheaper than I planned. For example, signing up for gleam is free and most sites you submit to have a free option to promote giveaways. Your prize can be as low as $25 dollar gift card (I wouldn't recommend going any lower) and that can still drive hundreds of people to your campaign, if not quite a few more.
This one hasn't actually started yet, so I won't be able to give results until later. That being said, I have over 100 authors signed up and 120 books total, which means there should be a lot of people driving traffic to my website. I've made my requests to check out the book unobtrusive, but with luck it will pan out and get a lot crossover traffic to my page.
I'll let you know more about the results in the coming days, but for now know this is something I'm excited to see how it goes.
The anthology isn't quite finished yet and I'm still collecting stories, but this is another place wherein I'm hoping to create high value crossover traffic. Basically, the goal is to direct people to my newest anthology and then get them to click over to my campaign as well.
With luck, this will also get a fairly substantial number of views and clicks and really pay off. I'll let you know more about how well this did toward the end of the campaign.
Library Book Signing - Handouts
I had really high hopes for this promotional idea, but it didn't really pan out. I left a bunch of bookmarks around different places and asked family and friends to hand them out as well, but in general the response has been thoroughly underwhelming.
Most of the people who came to the book signing weren't interested, and they simply weren't the right audience for my book. That being said, the signing itself was a success and I sold nearly all of the books I brought, it just wasn't right for the campaign.
I have confidence that the handouts can work, but for me it has been a problem of wrong place and wrong time.
A few recommendations I would have for it, though: don't tie your campaign to the handouts too tightly. What I did was build a landing page for the handouts, and then on the landing page it features my campaign. After the campaign ends, I will be able to change the landing page and continue handing out the cards. If, on the other hand, you link the cards to your Kindle Scout page, then you're crippling them once the campaign ends.
I had a book trailer put together for this with a collapsing letters effect to capitalize on video formatting. It turned out a little lighter than I would have liked, but in general I'm happy with it. This will be useful for social media sharing.
That's all for now. I'll have more results and information later on once more promotions run, and hopefully I can post more analytical data.
I won't post any concrete results until after the campaign ends, so you'll just have to be patient for now!